One of the most rewarding things about seeing our Alumni shine in the industry is seeing their growth from humble beginnings as JMC Students to International Film Successes!
Nik Kacevski has spent the last decade committed to creating. From humble beginnings in Visual Effects and Animation after graduating from JMC's Diploma of Film & Television Production, Nik was being exposed to the work and mentorship of some of great directors like George Miller on recognizable films such as Mad Max: Fury Road, The Avengers: Age of Ultron and Baz Luhrmann's Australia.
Moving into the role of directing, Nik began working on short films which were selected at the International New York Film Festival, Oscar Accredited Hollyshorts Film festival and Fantasia Film Festival. What evolved from these successes is his recent work in feature-length projects, writing and directing SKINFORD which won a myriad of awards for best director, cinematography, sound, music and visual effects at international festivals.
Nik does not seem to be slowing down and we were lucky enough to catch up with him for a chat about his career, his most recent short film and how COVID has made way for a hybrid of his skills to shine in the Film Industry.
What have been some of your career highlights since studying with JMC?
A huge highlight for me was creating my own show and feeling like my unique voice could find a wide audience. I wrote and directed a 2-part series called Skinford. It combined my love of cinema with my background in comic books, resulting in a pretty insane final product that really kicked off my career. Since releasing Skinford, I was introduced to the film industry in LA via my manager and agent, and am now in talks with several studios and production companies with the aim of creating more content for a global audience. Skinford is available and streaming on Stan and I am currently casting my next film with Lionsgate.
Tell us a little bit about your latest short film release Soulmate?
I have been writing and developing stories for over a decade and part of my process is to create visuals to support my pitch package. Soulmate is a short film I wrote, produced, and directed with the aim of introducing audiences to the world that I have created for the feature script. The short film has been submitted to major festivals, in conjunction with using it as a calling card to set up meetings with studios and production companies.
What inspired you to tackle this project?
The project was conceived many years ago, and since directing my debut feature film Skinford, which was a supernatural thriller, I wanted to showcase my abilities in the science fiction genre and tell this very personal story. We decided to shoot in Eastern Europe, where I was born, to create an authentic world that elevated the experience.
Has the current COVID-19 situation altered your work opportunities or approach to projects?
In short, definitely. 2020 has been a real hard year for filmmaking. What did thrive throughout this year though was animation. With streamers like Netflix and Amazon Prime dominating the market, and studios being able to organize artists to work from home, it’s been a big year for animation. I myself was able to fall back on the skills I learned studying at JMC and have spent the year working on Marvel’s Animated Series, What If…?. Moving forward, Australia has been one of the first countries to be able to continue productions, so I am actively working on bringing my projects to shoot in Australia.
How did studying your Diploma at JMC prepare you for the creative industry?
Studying at JMC introduced me to technical skills and software that I use to this day, but the main aspect that I benefited from was being surrounded by like-minded people that managed to challenge and push me to succeed. I still work with artists I studied with all those years ago and they are my closest friends. In fact, another fellow Alumni Evan Whiteside created all the visual effects for both Skinford and Soulmate. Evan's even gone on to start his own VFX and Architectural Visualization company Whiteside VFX.
If you could re-create any film piece, which would it be and why?
Like most filmmakers, I reference and learn from other great filmmakers. I look at the work of Christopher Nolan, Guillermo Del Toro and Denis Villeneuve. What these filmmakers have in common is that they strive to create a unique perspective. On a daily basis, I am searching for uniqueness. But, if I was to recreate a scene, purely because I feel it is a great example of creating tension, I would look at the opening scene of Quentin Tarantino’s Inglorious Bastards.
What advice would you give to someone thinking of studying in your chosen career path?
The advice I would give to anyone wanting to get into the film industry is to develop a strong instinct. Find your voice and don’t be afraid to lean into your unique point of view. Watch films, read books, and trust your gut because there is no blueprint or rulebook.
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Check out the trailer to Soulmate below!